If there was a doubt the expectations for the Cubs in 2016 would not be extremely high, the first two days of baseball’s second season have done very little to make those expectations a little more realistic.
Schoenfield released his “way too early” power rankings for next season and his top five teams are, in reverse order, the Giants, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Royals and Cubs.
Schoenfield pointed out “the pressure is on, they won 97 games, they’re young and that lineup is going to be better.” Schoenfield thinks the Cubs will reunite David Price and Joe Maddon “to make that rotation even better.” With a rotation headlined by a top three of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and David Price, Schoenfield feels the Cubs “are the team to beat.”
Jake Arrieta’s numbers for the regular season will continue to be posted throughout the winter. Arrieta was 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 2.35 FIP. Arrieta gave up 52 runs, 45 earned, on 150 hits with 48 walks and 236 strikeouts in 229 innings.
Arrieta set career highs in wins (22), innings pitched (229) and strikeouts (236) while posting career lows in ERA (1.77) and WHIP (0.87). Arrieta completed 72 1/3 more innings than 2014 at the big league level.
Bill Chuck posted a reminder on Gammons Daily that innings pitchers complete in the post-season are often overlooked but those innings do count, especially on a pitcher’s arm. Chuck reported “including the post-season, there were 32 pitchers who threw over 200 innings” in 2015, “down from 41 in both 2013 and 2014, the 39 in 2012 and the 45 in 2011.”
And at the top of his list of pitchers who threw at least 225 innings in 2015 is Jake Arrieta.
Counting the three starts in the playoffs, Arrieta pitched 248 2/3 innings over 36 starts. Arrieta actually finished the year in games that count with a 1.92 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 264 strikeouts and 52 walks. Arrieta threw a total of 3,742 pitches.
News, Notes and Rumors
• C Taylor Teagarden elected free agency according to Baseball America. The Cubs outrighted Teagarden off the 40-man roster to Iowa on Oct. 27. Teagarden is officially a free agent.
• Dexter Fowler leads Cubs’ free agent class. And according to ESPN Chicago, Trevor Cahill’s performance over the last two months “could earn him a new deal with the Cubs.”
• Patrick Mooney nailed another one. This is a must read report with some of the best quotes from Joe Maddon over the last year … Cubs got their money’s worth with Joe Maddon at the microphone.
• Clayton Richard would like to stay with the Cubs and he will know by Dec. 2 if he will be tendered a contract or not. If he is non-tendered, Richard would become a free agent. Richard told Nathan Baird he would like to be part of the Cubs moving forward.
• ESPN reported the Royals, Mets, Astros and Cubs provide new model for building a winner.
• According to a report from the Belleville News-Democrat, John Lackey is looking for a three-year contract in the $45-60 million range. Scott Wuertz doesn’t hold back his feelings for the Cubs and even calls them ‘The Wee Bears.’ Joe Maddon and his team have gotten under the skin of even the Cardinals’ reporters.
• OF Adron Chambers was suspended 50 games for a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Chambers spent the season in the Cubs’ organization at Triple-A Iowa. Chambers played in 88 games and hit .280/.358/.375 with 18 doubles, two triples and a home run. Chambers signed a minor league contract with the Cubs last off-season that included a non-roster invite to big league camp. Chambers turned 29 last month.
• The Red Sox picked up the $13 million option for Clay Buchholz. Boston could deal Buchholz and a team like the Padres could be interested in him as part of a package for Craig Kimbrel according to Nick Cafardo. The Sox could also deal Jackie Bradley Jr. to the Royals for a reliever if Kansas City loses Alex Gordon.
• Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday the Dodgers interviewed Dave Roberts for the managerial opening. If Roberts does not get the job with the Dodgers, he is still expected to leave San Diego.
• After not signing with the Nationals, Bud Black has become a candidate for the Dodgers. Ken Rosenthal reported the Dodgers plan to interview Black. The Dodgers are halfway through the process of interviewing candidates, as many as 10 interviews are possible.
• According to a report from Bruce Levine, the White Sox are expected to talk to former Cubs’ manager Rick Renteria again this week about being Robin Ventura’s bench coach. Renteria was in line to be Bud Black’s bench coach in Washington but is now available again.
And last, but not least, according to Christopher Kamka the Cubs are the first team in MLB history with three-ERA qualified pitchers to have K/9IP of nine and K/BB of four … Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Jason Hammel.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs granted free agency to Lars Anderson, Alberto Cabrera, Lendy Castillo, Edgar Gonzalez, Marcus Hatley, Marcus Mateo, Manny Ramirez, Chris Valaika and Josh Vitters
2010 – Cubs granted free agency to Angel Guzman
2005 – Cubs granted free agency to Chad Fox
2004 – Cubs granted free agency to Todd Hollandsworth
1993 – Cubs granted free agency to Eric Yelding
1992 – Cubs granted free agency to Andre Dawson and Luis Salazar
1990 – Hak-Ju Lee, born
1988 – Cubs granted free agency to Frank DiPino, Manny Trillo and Scott Sanderson
1978 – John Grabow, born
1967 – Eric Karros, born
1961 – Angel Salazar, born
1959 – Ernie Banks was named National League MVP. Banks became the first National League player to win the Most Valuable Player Award two years in row. Banks received 10 of the 21 first place votes.